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For the past 40 years I have been involved in planning public events for groups, churches, and communities. During that time anything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

Everyone in northwest Tennessee has heard of the fireworks fiasco during a 4th of July fireworks event at Paris Landing State Park several years ago. I didn’t “hear” of it; I lived it. My chorus was slap dab in the middle of those fireworks that shot through the crowd and bounced off of vehicles.

Which brings me to McKenzie’s most recent 4th of July celebration. The fireworks were set off earlier than advertised because radar indicated there was rain approaching. Many people missed seeing the fireworks because of that decision.

If you were one of those who missed out, how did you handle it? Did you rant, rave, and cuss, calling the organizers all sorts of names?

When your child started crying because they missed the fireworks, how did you handle the situation? Did you rant, rave, cuss, and call the organizers all sorts of names? In other words, did you act just like your child? Or did you use the opportunity to empathize with your child’s disappointment and then use it as a teaching opportunity to demonstrate to them how to handle disappointment? You might have said, “I know you’re disappointed. I don’t blame you because I am, too. But sometimes things don’t go the way they were planned, and we don’t always get what we hoped for. Missing fireworks was a disappointing thing, but you and I are alive and well and here together; I’m happy about that.”

We all have moments when we need to stop and take a breath and consider what is important. While many were together celebrating the 4th, my three-year old great-nephew was being diagnosed with leukemia and a sweet friend of mine lost her life while hiking at Cummins Falls State Park. Those things are worth being upset about. But missing out on fireworks? It’s really not that big of a deal.

David Johnson

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